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I've hit my breaking point.
July 25, 2011 7:46 PM   Subscribe

It's not a quarter-life crisis, I'm almost broken. How can I turn things around before it's too late?

The past week has been a whirlwind for me with so much thoughts running through my mind about the past, present and future ... and I'm finally at that point where I'm seriously going to snap unless some things change. I have hardly had any major setbacks this year at least, but I constantly think about the past and also right now/the future, and not just this week either.

I'm only 21, but I feel broken. Now your definition of broken my vary or you may think there's no way I can possibly be at a young age, but I am.

I can still do a great thing here and move on. For fear of making this post too long, I won't go into detail about what has happened to me. I wasn't even sure how to word this question/post. By the way, first question here on MeFi.

From age 16 to now, things have happened to me and I've had a rapid departure from who I was. Even before then I can't say I had a really happy childhood, but that's when the big things happened. I'm pretty different from most people.

Some of it (most of it, actually) is my own fault and some of it isn't. I can't seem to forgive myself no matter what, at least not yet. And these aren't small things, but things that will shape me for the rest of my life. Some stuff I can't come back from.

I know exactly the person I want to be in 2-4 years time, just my problem is getting there. I think about it everyday, and it's beautiful. Not the happiness I would have dreamed about as a kid, the best I can do now. I really want to be in that world 2-4 years from now.

I don't even know what specific question is, really, but I do know I'm running out of time. I keep telling myself I'm going to make that jump to start being the person I want to be, in steps. I will be 22 in January, and over the next few weeks I would like to just wake up one day and start doing it. I don't know if I need advice on that part, it's something I could accomplish on my own ... but perhaps I need that extra motivation. I'm thinking all the time about the life I'm going to make for myself, but without moving any steps towards that.

I don't think I'm suicidal, at least not yet. I have thought about it, I want to live and be the person I want to be, although if this doesn't happen in the next few years than I might seriously be suicidal. Changing and moving steps towards this would be easy for me, so it's not like I'm someone who would have a hard time doing so. I just need to act on it.

I should add that right now I am living with my parents, and a major step towards achieving this goal would be moving across-the-country. I am saving up for that and should be gone in the winter or beginning of next year.

What can I do now and in the future to forgive myself and become who I want to be? I think even when I do this, I'd still be somewhat broken because of my past and other things ... but at least I'd be living the life I want to live. It'd be my own kind of happiness.

Sorry I didn't go into detail about some of the important aspects. This post is long already.
posted by signondiego to Human Relations (51 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
you need to discuss all this with a therapist. For one thing, this post is too vague for people to offer concrete help.

For another: you say:

I don't think I'm suicidal, at least not yet. I have thought about it, I want to live and be the person I want to be, although if this doesn't happen in the next few years than I might seriously be suicidal. Changing and moving steps towards this would be easy for me, so it's not like I'm someone who would have a hard time doing so. I just need to act on it.

You should discuss these thoughts with a therapist. Not because you're in an omgterriblesuicidalspot, but precisely because you're not. This is a great time to research and get started with a therapist and help yourself.
posted by sweetkid at 7:50 PM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]



I know exactly the person I want to be in 2-4 years time ... What can I do now and in the future to forgive myself and become who I want to be?


Can you give us any more detail on who/what it is that you want to be? Otherwise it will be hard for people to recommend much other than therapy.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:56 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I went (am going) through something very similar to this. Without any more details in your post, it's hard to pin down what you need to look at. I hate to ring the familiar bell, but visiting a therapist will at least help get these ideas of dread and despair out of your head and into a place where you can face them more fully.

That being said, I'm still forgiving myself for things I've done in the past. It can be as small as lying to a friend 5 years ago about something inconsequential, or majorly fucking up an event for a friend of mine. Every time I'm around something that reminds me of the situation, I had a habit of devolving into a depressive mess because of it.

The only way I've been able to get around it is to just look forward. I can't even say, "Well, that wasn't me" - it was me. If I try to deflect, then when it happens again, I'll just deflect again.

Sorry for the mess of things - your post hits a chord with me. See a therapist, see if you can get some meds. You sound depressed, because you sound like what I sounded like when I was depressed. Even if you aren't clinically depressed, talking with a professional will probably be the best thing you can do right now. All we can do is sit around and suggest some broad strokes without knowing anything else about your situation.

Good luck, and I hope that you get through this.
posted by SNWidget at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2011


Your view on your age and time are deadly incorrect. You have all the time in the world at any age. You are driving yourself nuts here unnecessarily.

Therapy for this and for the rest.

It's hard to say if your lack of kindness towards yourself is warranted or unwarranted via the details in your question, but in most cases, unkindness towards ourselves and others is completely unwarranted. It certainly isn't useful

I get the feeling nobody taught you how to properly frame your mistakes (ProTip: mistakes are often helpful, not shameful!) appreciate what mistakes can teach you, and then how to move forward in a positive manner. Am I right?

Either way, please work on this very important Life Skill in therapy.
posted by jbenben at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it says a lot about how little information you provide. You are unwilling to verbalise your internal desires because you are fundamentally ashamed of them. Perhaps they seem wishful or unachievable but you should try and summon the courage to express them, if not here then to your friends and family. That way those that love you can support you in your goals.
posted by smithsmith at 8:06 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honey, just so you know, we are all broken. All of us. Everyone carries around baggage. People routinely survive terrible things and do terrible things and are victims of terrible things and victimise each other in terrible ways.

I would encourage you to seek therapy, embrace kindness, and dispense with shame as an emotion.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [29 favorites]


For fear of making this post too long, I won't go into detail about what has happened to me.

I'd be happy to read more. Please share specifics if you want...that's what "more inside" is for!
posted by sninctown at 8:08 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes people (myself included) grow up a lot more between 21 and 25 than between 16 and 21. I think it is a common time to have your life and ideas radically change. It does, in fact, sound like a quarterlife crisis.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:12 PM on July 25, 2011


I think you should find someone helpful and non-judgmental to talk to about your feelings and your plans. You come across as very scattered and urgent, full of undirected energy, vague hopes, and undefined fears. Your post mentions a few big changes you are considering or hoping to make in order to change who you are, but realistically speaking, the belief that a dramatic and large change will make your world a better place tends to be a desperate belief, not a sign of clear thinking and wisdom--particularly when that stress is something as ephemeral (and transportable to new cities) as who you are, how you think of yourself, what you may have done in the past, and what you might fail to do in the future.

You wrote a lot in your question, but you said very little: I think that is important. I think it says something about where you're at right now. Please find another perspective and then listen to what that perspective has to tell you, because right now you do not appear to be coming at your problems from a productive space.

I have never been to therapy and think that the number times therapy is recommended here, for anything and everything, is a bit absurd. But your question and tone make me think that you would benefit from therapy, whether it's from a therapist or a friend. Seeking help in both places would probably be for the best. If you trust your parents enough to open up to them, consider that option as well.

And don't take my opinion to mean that you are broken or bad in any way. You simply are in a situation that is complicated and could probably be dealt with much easier with the help of some outside perspective. That's all. Regardless of whatever else is going on, that part of the situation is definitely a problem that you can solve.
posted by jsturgill at 8:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


From age 16 to now, things have happened to me and I've had a rapid departure from who I was. Even before then I can't say I had a really happy childhood, but that's when the big things happened. I'm pretty different from most people.

From 16 onwards is when you're SUPPOSED to have a rapid departure from who you were. Your late teens/early 20's are for trying on different personas/learning who you are/making mistakes/making discoveries.

And most everyone at your age feels like they are different from most other people. In fact, that's pretty common for all ages.
posted by Windigo at 8:18 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really honestly think that you need to hear now that what you're saying is almost completely incoherent and there's no possibility of anyone doing more than either giving you more than the most generic advice or project their own issues on this.

I don't know whether you have seriously gone through some mind-altering life cataclysms in the last several years or if you are just a (not very unique) 21 year old who has sort of grandiose ideas about how different and damaged you are. I don't know whether the goal self you've set up in this 2-4 year time frame is a realistic, attainable goal or if you are contemplating some nonsensical pipe dream. I don't know what's stopping you from proceeding with whatever this business is.

If you want help you need to start breaking this down and get specific. People have to forgive themselves for things that happen all the time and move on from them. People have to take a beautiful dream of a future and turn it into a practical plan of action all the time. People have to figure out how to break through inertia, sometimes freighted with depression and anxiety, and start taking those methodical steps towards putting those plans into action all the time.

I'm just about 40 and I can tell you a few things: if you are "pretty different from most people" there are still tens if not hundreds of millions of people just like you. We are not that unique. There is next to nothing I thought would be important to me my whole life when I was 21 that means anything much to me now. And I have felt many, many times in the last two decades that I was against the wall and if something didn't change I would snap. Sometimes nothing changed, and though I was hard up against it sometimes I never snapped. You can change your life. But if you want advice you are going to have to pick one of these three aspects (forgiving yourself and reconciling major transforming events in your life; taking a dream of a future self and turning it into a real strategy you can follow now; overcoming personal inertia to start taking real steps to put your plans into action) and give enough details for people to make sense of what you are asking and respond with usable, experience-based life advice.
posted by nanojath at 8:31 PM on July 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


Life is just beginning.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:36 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Small steps add up. For example, your small step today was posting this question. It will probably lead to other small steps.
posted by thorny at 8:40 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You sound pretty manic, which is how my brain sounds when I'm having an anxiety attack. Please get therapy because it's not just for the mentally I'll it's for the stuck, the lost, the confused people too. Just want to add that you're a baby (I am too) and it is way too soon to even utter the words "turn my life around" because you are just starting. It took going to school with a bunch of 40 and 50 year olds for me to realize that literally my entire life is ahead of me and yours is too. I wish you would provide more details but there's my $0.02.
posted by boobjob at 8:44 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


From a development point of view, your brain keeps changing until 25, or even later in some cases. I remember feeling what you describe when I was around your age.

I know it's a cliche, but it DOES get better! My life got WAY better around 24. Now at 28, I haven't felt nearly as alone, desperate, overwhelmed, hopeless, frustrated, etc. as I did in my early 20's.

Therapy, sleep, friends, (possibly) medication, exercise, eating well...all those things help.
posted by guster4lovers at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, 3 things out of a rather scattered jumble: being broken (depression, possible suicidal ideation), becoming who you want to be (involving moving out among other stuff), forgiving yourself (for perceived wrongs to others, I'm guessing). It may help to separate these into distinct portions.


1. Depression needs to be dealt with first (starting before you move, ideally), because otherwise you'll drag a lot of your issues with you rather than starting over somewhere else. Even if you have no insurance, there are hotlines, and depending on the place, I believe a lot of youth help stuff is still valid for 21 and under (but 21 inclusive). I think if you absolutely need to leave, or fear for your safety in any way, you are still eligible for youth halfway houses. If need be, you can probably even move out immediately. Please seek help. Sometimes living with other youth in difficult circumstances may help you feel less alone, and you can perhaps make friends and gain peer support, etc.

2. Becoming who you are is a life-long process that hopefully never stops; we all do it in crazy leaps and lurches ages 10-30. You're normal to have difficulty articulating and putting that into practice. Again, reaching out to other youth may help. More specifically, think of it in terms of actions or behaviors rather than states of being. Say you want to be more creative: start actually practicing X creative activity (that is, force yourself to play, or paint, or write, even if it's half an hour a day). Say you want to be kinder: don't think of it as a state of being, think of it as '2 hours a week volunteering for my local shelter' or you can mentor a kid if you like one-on-one more, or what have you. Say you want to be brave and awesome: challenge yourself to do something that scares you, even if it's something stupid like saying hi to a stranger or biking across town or something.

3. Forgiveness, etc. Sometimes that takes a really long time. Advice: do not take this too seriously. Being an adult just means accepting we all make mistakes, sometimes serious ones, but the point is we learn from them. Loving yourself is a long-term thing, but short-term, you can do stuff like write unsent letters to the people you regret hurting, try to be kind to those in your life right now, and promise to do things differently, etc. No one is doomed to be broken from their past-- that's over-the-top depressive self-aggrandizing you'll be embarrassed by when you're 30. The other thing is understanding you are never responsible for anyone's feelings or trauma. You can't fix anyone, and the flip-side is that unless you're their parent, you aren't responsible for anyone. Of course, physical harm and abuse is problematic and should be stopped, but using words like 'broken' and 'unforgivable' is living your life in the grip of drama. Accept/explore ideas like karma, no-self, and other Buddhist concepts of letting go the ego if it helps. Some people find spirituality works to address these issues of self/other acceptance and guilt.

And I agree that time is really all that's needed to move forward. The 'secret' is to survive better. Make sure you're alive, healthy, stable. Make sure you eat right, exercise, do as right by others as you can, pay attention to your body and to other people's words, things like that. Take it one day at a time, forget about your dreams for being perfect, forget about the past/future paradigm and just live the best you can right this moment. And before you know it, you'll realize your old problems don't look anything like they used to.
posted by reenka at 8:49 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


therapist. stat. like, you, there was someone i knew i wanted to be. my therapists were essential in helping me get there.
posted by violetk at 8:53 PM on July 25, 2011


This is not meant to be glib, but Ernest Hemingway said “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” And DarlingBri (up thread) said something similar. Please believe that we are all, to one extent or another, at one time or another, broken. Some fake it better than others.

I also think our modern society tries to make us cookie cutter people. Think of how many gifted people are slipping through the cracks because of the current popular mind set (if you ask me it's the 1950's all over again).

Forgive others and forgive yourself. And find a therapist who wants to help you find how to shine, not just survive. This may take a bit (or not, if you're very lucky).
posted by forthright at 9:13 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


We all have done things in the past that require that we forgive ourselves. What works for me in order to forgive my misdeeds, both small and large, is making a conscious effort toward atonement and reparation. Most times is impossible to direct this to the person we have hurt, but paying it forward and trying to improve life for others does work. I'm past sixty and I still find actions in my past that I regret and that I need to be forgiven.

Be kind and loving to yourself and know that we care about you and your feelings. Hugs!
posted by francesca too at 9:29 PM on July 25, 2011


Hi, 22 (almost 23) year old who is going through and identifies with everything you said in your post, up to and especially the idea that time has run out, that I'm too old to become the kind of person I want to be and that I've already made too many mistakes. It happens to a lot of us. You are absolutely not alone.

As lots of people have told you upthread, no matter what you've done, you've got all the time in the world to make out of your life what you want to and anything, up to and including murder, is forgivable.

Definitely take everybody's advice and get yourself signed up for therapy. More than being about getting yourself fixed, therapy's about siting with an unbiased person who can examine your thoughts and tell you where the cognitive flaw is. You wouldn't be in the spot you're in now if you weren't both smart and compassionate - unintelligent compassionate people are incapable of self-examination, and smart non-compassionate people don't give a rat's ass that they (may have) hurt somebody. Both of those are super important qualities going forward that can help you build a really great life.

While you're waiting for your first appointment, here's some stuff you might want to try to feel better right now:

Meditation, exercise, and eating right - These are all about kicking your brain chemicals into high gear to make yourself feel better. Exercise especially has helped me out of some straights. Run until you can't run anymore, meditate to help your muscles relax and your brain start thinking, get lots of fruits and veggies to prevent yourself from feeling bogged down.

Write your thoughts down - Getting your thoughts out of your head can help to cool them down some. If you need a system, start by just writing everything you're thinking. The flaws in your thinking that make you feel this way will start to become apparent.

Examine yourself for cognitive distortions - The psychologist David Burns, a lead thinker in cognitive behavioral therapy, identified these 10 cognitive distortions common to people with anxiety or depression - they're all basically standards we hold ourselves to that are unrealistic or don't promote helpful thinking. Reading them and re-reading them may help you identify parts of your story you're misjudging. This can be really helpful combined with the writing from above.

See your GP and talk about meds - Your GP can give some low-risk meds that can help in the short term, especially if you're experiencing anxiety. A GP referral can also help you get to a psychiatrist who you can talk to about SSRIs, etc. I'm on an anti-anxiety drug called Buspirone, which isn't a miracle pill by any means, but which did give me enough distance from my own thoughts to examine them more objectively. With therapy and practice, these can really help.

If you just wanna talk about this stuff with somebody in the same place, working through the same sorts of issues whose read just about all the books and theories there are to be had on this stuff, please don't hesitate to drop me some MeMail.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:16 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, your question sounds familiar. I, and a number of people I know, could have written almost exactly this question at various points in the past. The good news is, things are a lot better now -- the posters above are absolutely right, there's a lot of growing and changing that happens between 16 and 25, and what seems hopeless at 21 has often changed for the better by 24 and 25. Of course, the impatience at waiting for those changes to happen is agonizing, and simply hearing that it gets better doesn't always help. But it needs to be said anyway: it gets better.

You sound pretty down on yourself, and acutely aware of how much life doesn't match up to how it ought to be. It's important to balance that with some positive thoughts about yourself as well. Perhaps you don't completely embody all the things you'd like to be all the time, but you do have some great qualities that I bet you're overlooking. You sound like a cautious planner, who is pretty good about setting a goal (moving away) and implementing solid steps to achieve it (saving up enough money ahead of time), instead of impulsively jumping into potentially bad situations. You also sound pretty introspective, which is an powerful asset. And you sound like you're able to make important decisions about what you want out of life, no small feat -- I'd kill to have that kind of clarity and be able to stick with it.

And those qualities come across in just 500-odd words. You know yourself, and you can figure out what those assets are. Awareness and acceptance of your less-than-amazing traits and conditions and mistakes is important so you can change, but you can't change if you don't keep an eye on your positive traits at the same time. It becomes infinitely easier to grow and change when you're able to have a little bit of compassion for yourself. Learning how to do that is going to be so insanely uncomfortable at first that it's going to feel like you can't do it. A journal can be a good at-home way to start the process, and therapy is a perfectly valid place to work on it too.
posted by lilac girl at 10:21 PM on July 25, 2011


I appreciate all the responses, even the ones that gave me really harsh criticism. There are a few good ones in here, too. I realize that I should have been more detailed in my original post, I just wasn't sure how to word it. But now with these responses, I can.

For those recommending therapy, I really don't think that's something that would benefit me at this point. I know what I want. As for my thought process being scattered, I just couldn't write down the original question the way it was coming across in my head. That's all.

Allow me to go into more detail. Perhaps I'm not broken, and I am living in a drama like one poster said ... but I have had a really tough time these past few years.

My biggest regret is I changed my name completely just a few days after I turned 18. First, last, and middle. It would be fine, except the name doesn't even fit my background. And nobody stopped me from doing this. So right now, I'm living with a name I won't even have in a few years. I'll either have to revert back to my original name, or pick a new one down the road that fits me and I could live with. How do I explain this to a girl?

That doesn't even begin to describe the other things I regret, but that is the biggest one. I would say the rest of them are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things compared to that one. As you may notice, I haven't done any harm to others like many people thought. It's myself.

Becoming who I want to be isn't as big a change as I made it seem like. I have a little belly fat to lose, I'm not terribly fat but I'm also not happy with it. So I want to finally start eating right and lose it. This also goes along with adopting the behavior and habits my ideal self would have. Once I finally start exercising, I assume the rest would just fall into place.

My goal is to become a screenwriter, and I've written several movie scripts and have been told I have talent. I am saving up for a move to Los Angeles, although it's tough because I have to save up more as I won't have a job. Unless something changes, like if I get some good opportunities before I even move out there. I also keep trying to avoid L.A., but I know I can't anymore.

The person I want to be is having everything figured out, living in the place I want to live (NYC or a few European cities) and doing that with "the one". That's pretty much the dream.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to describe the various minor factors. My relationship with my parents, my childhood, how I feel about various things, etc. There is one more big obstacle and that's my teeth. While not pearly white, they are fine except for the bottom being crooked. And I take care of them now. But still, I'm not satisfied and want them completely fixed in the next few years.

So it might not seem like I'm broken, but when you add in the two big things along with how I've looked at life the past few years ... then yeah I think I am.

To those who say I'm not running out of time, maybe I'm not ... but I saw myself moving and doing these things back when I was 18 or 19. I had set goals and deadlines for myself. I don't know how much longer I can wait around living at home waiting to start a new life. That is why I feel like I'm running out of time, because I'm going to be 22 next year and I need to get things started now.

I realize some might not be looking at this subject the way I am, but whatever advice you can share ... feel free.
posted by signondiego at 10:55 PM on July 25, 2011


Umm, if your biggest regret is that you changed your name to something you don't like, you are indeed living in a self-created drama fest. That is something you have total control over. Change it back? People change their names, or have two, or write under aliases, all the time. Whatever. Total non-crisis. People carry on through the world with names like Fifi Tixibelle and thrive perfectly well as humans.

Serious life regrets worthy of this level of angst: killing a pedestrian with your car. Sexually abusing another person. Alienating your family through theft. Abandoning a pregnant partner or child.

The person I want to be is having everything figured out, living in the place I want to live (NYC or a few European cities) and doing that with "the one". That's pretty much the dream.

Nobody has everything figured out and there is no The One.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:11 PM on July 25, 2011 [25 favorites]


My biggest regret is I changed my name completely just a few days after I turned 18. First, last, and middle. It would be fine, except the name doesn't even fit my background. And nobody stopped me from doing this. So right now, I'm living with a name I won't even have in a few years. I'll either have to revert back to my original name, or pick a new one down the road that fits me and I could live with. How do I explain this to a girl?

For whatever it's worth, I am a girl and I would probably just think this was kind of quirky, as long as it wasn't something you were like secretive about and trying to hide. I happen to know a guy who change his name at least 3 times, I realized he'd changed his name at least once before he even explained it to me, and it didn't strike me as any kind of weird thing.

The thing that would probably be far more "???" to me would be all the angst over the name. Not the changing of the name itself.

This amount of angst over your name strikes me as probably fairly unusual. Hate to keep beating the drum like this, but I think therapy would be appropriate here. You say you don't think therapy would be useful to you because you know what you want. However it doesn't sound like you know what you want WRT to the name changing and are still tangled up about what to do.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:25 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alright, the explanation helps provide some context.

YMMV, but I don't think there's a lot to be gained from labeling your feelings a self-created drama fest. One of the most important lessons from Buddhism or more secular mindfulness practices (mindfulness serves as the underlying philosophy behind cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance & commitment therapy, two of the more popular treatment courses for anxiety and depression) - thoughts are not good or bad, right or wrong. They are helpful and unhelpful. As you're perfectly capable of realizing, even now, the thoughts you're having are not helpful to your growth and development. Don't try to get rid of them because they, or you, are bad (you aren't); get rid of them because they aren't helping you be the person you want to be.

You'll probably get a lot of push back in this thread for making a mountain out of a molehill, but I've had the same or more stress over similarly low magnitude stuff, that you'd find just as silly to get upset over as some people are going to find what you're upset over now. Anxiety is an illness, one that affects at least 1 in 20 people over the course of their lifetimes. Your anxiety would find something else to make a problem if this weren't it.

If therapy's a no-go, how about counseling? Counseling can be about as little as having someone to talk through the same kinds of anguish you're expressing in this thread on a regular basis, with someone with enough objectivity to point you in the right direction.

To the point about your name: You don't say so, but it sounds like you changed your name because of some stuff you may have had with your parents. If that's the reason (or, whatever the reason is, really) the worst you're out at this point is a few hundred bucks changing your name one way and maybe changing it back. By the time you're close enough to a girl where she deserves to know things like when and for what reasons you changed your name once (this isn't right away), you'll be intimate enough that you can tell her whatever that story is. As Ashley says above, as long as you're honest about it to the extent you're comfortable, it won't matter. People change their names for tons of reasons (they get married, they don't like their parents, they change their gender, they just want to change their gender performance, they move to Hollywood and become movie stars, their name is easy to make fun of), none of which can really be judged.

Come to think of it, the name's a good starting point. All of the problems you describe above - all of them - can be fixed with some combination of time, money and effort. Changing your name takes money. Moving to Los Angeles takes money. Becoming a screenwriter takes time and effort. Working out takes time and effort. Fixing your teeth takes money. Finding the one takes time (lots of it) and effort. Here's what's remarkable from what we know about you already - you've got money for sure (saved for LA), and you seem pretty interested in spending effort. Getting your mind around the time part takes patience, but patience is a skill that can be developed.

Short version: You're totally on track. You're not stuck in a manipulative or abusive relationship. You don't appear to be deeply in debt. In the middle of a recession, you're saving money. People who you respect say you have talent. And you have a direction and goal - a little pie in the sky, perhaps but not unacheivable. None of that takes away the pain, I realize, especially if the pain comes in part from the idea that your problems don't merit therapy or a bunch of space on AskMe, which is a vibe I'm getting. Recognize that anxiety latches on to whatever problems you have, no matter how small. Recognize that it's unhelpful to you doing and becoming who you want. Start to think about ways to get better.

For my part, it helps me to know there's someone else who feels this way. So, thanks for sharing.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:38 PM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh! You're a writer. All of my writer friends are neurotic to a certain extent - welcome to the club! You're in fine company.

You might really get inspired listening to The Nerdist podcast. It's on iTunes. Start at the beginning of the series, you'd be surprised at how many successful folks in entertainment have been through what you are just starting to experience. No worries, that's just the entertainment industry. You'll be fine!

Try to over-think your writing, don't over-think living. Keep the drama on the page or up on the screen, not in your day to day life:)
posted by jbenben at 11:51 PM on July 25, 2011


For those recommending therapy, I really don't think that's something that would benefit me at this point. I know what I want. As for my thought process being scattered, I just couldn't write down the original question the way it was coming across in my head. That's all.

Knowing what you want doesn't exclude you from being able to benefit from therapy. Not one bit, I don't think. I think therapy is exactly what you need.
posted by masters2010 at 12:32 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I say this with all sincerity.

You are definitely in a quarter-life crisis. Everything you have said is very indicative of what many people your age feel and experience. You feel yourself on the brink on something, and you either want to take that step over the brink or you want to back off -- different people see that brink differently.

I would also say that you're treating life as a destination. "I want to be here in 2-4 years." Okay. So say you get there, what then? Are you going to make another 4 year plan after that? What if you don't get there? What if you take side trips that end up being more worthwhile than your original plan?

Life isn't a destination, my friend. And as much as you drive your own life, sometimes life just grabs you and takes you elsewhere.

I just turned 30, and let me tell you, my life is nothing like what I thought it would be when I was 21. I thought I'd be in or finished with a Ph.D program. I thought I'd be on my way to becoming a college professor. I thought I'd have written a novel or two by now. I haven't done any of those things.

And I don't regret not doing them. Some of them I may still do. But I got other things instead. I got a family. Many people my age are still dating around, and if what my coworker says is anything to go by dating around can get tiring quite fast. I got a job that, while not what I want to be doing for my entire life, I really do enjoy for the most part. And there really is a lot of time for most people. At 21, you've lived one lifetime already. By 42 you'll have lived another.

I suggest you relax. Do the things you can do like changing your name back or to something else, moving, working on finding an agent to shop around a sceenplay, and let life surprise you with the rest.
posted by zizzle at 3:26 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I might be off-track, but I think you are suffering from what I call "orphaned" anxiety or low-grade depression, like Apropos of something above suggested. Both with me and with others I have noticed that often, after a long-term intense, or stressful, or tense period a certain emotional and intellectual charge builds up in the system. Common sense suggests that taking the stressor away (for instance by finishing exams, getting rid of a poisonous relationship, sorting out a work-situation, etc) would end your inner tension. But what happens sometimes is that paradoxically this leads to an intensification of the anxious or self-critical or depressed feelings. They start to latch on to any triviality that seems to give them legitimacy and justification.

Some people have suggested that your name change is not worth agonising over. Compared to what I have been doing during periods of "orphaned" negative emotions, and what many people I know have done, this doesn't compare - there is hassle involved in changing and then maybe changing again, it is also an symptom of the fact that you feel a bit lost on your way, if not directionless, etc. It is something that could give anyone a headache. Still, I get the feeling that you might suffer a bit from the same "orphaned" emotions which disproportionally amplify facts (be they truly tough or not) - even if your current concerns are much more legitimate than the sillyness that used to keep me and others awake at night.

This being said, it is important to realise that, should the above be anywhere near the mark, if left unattended these lingering emotions and reactions can gnaw at you, and might even turn into a fully-fledged depression. These things are parasitic on your well-being, like viruses - all they want is to stay alive, and they will CREATE food for themselves if left to their own devices, namely by looking for and presenting you with and ever wider arrey of "reasons" for anxiety and depression. I think you should heed those people who suggest therapy. And if therapy seems excessive, maybe look for a couple of counselling sessions as suggested upthread or some low-grade temporary medication. When I was in a similar situation in the past, I ended up taking three weeks' worth of medication (don't remember what). When I stopped, most of my worries and dark thoughts had dropped off. I felt like I was convalescing. And it became immeasurably easier to carry on with my plans and with enjoying myself and the world.
posted by miorita at 3:52 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would be fine, except the name doesn't even fit my background. And nobody stopped me from doing this.

Here comes a sincere, non-judging, non-rhetorical question: Who was supposed to? Your parents? Your friends? Your significant other? Whoever you feel wasn't there for you might be a key to understanding why you're hurting now. And also, why is it so important that it fit your background? Again, that question is only meant as a point to start reflecting.

How do I explain this to a girl?

...and doing that with "the one"


When you're single, it can feel like 1) everyone else is in a relationship; and 2) a relationship would provide the missing piece and you'd suddenly be happy. Well, #1 is most definitely not true, and while relationships do change your life in profound ways, they are much better when you have already worked on your relationship with yourself. Which includes acknowledging and exploring your feelings. You've made a good start, now don't give up! Good luck.
posted by lily_bart at 5:58 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What can I do now and in the future to forgive myself and become who I want to be?

The same thing everyone else has done: forget about it. Change your name back to what it was. Explain it to a woman the same way you'd explain a teenage "goth phase"-- either don't talk about it or laugh it off as the foibles of youth.

No one is noticing your crooked bottom row of teeth. That said, get a job, save up some money, and get some orthodontic work done. That probably won't get taken care of for another few years, but don't worry about it, for now.

What do you mean "Once I finally start exercising"? If you want to exercise, start doing that.

You'll notice that I'm making it all seem "easy," when you know it's not easy, and it's a huge struggle for you. That's why people are recommending therapy and/or counseling-- because this is obviously hard for you, and you need an outside perspective to help you understand where you're coming from and how to overcome what you're dealing with. If you don't do this, or if you don't learn to talk about your issues openly as the small things that they are, you're going to live most of your life in your own head where these things will fester and turn into huge issues.
posted by deanc at 6:01 AM on July 26, 2011


Your biggest regret is something that is not only minor, but completely and utterly reversible. Congratulations, it's a very good thing.

You're not broken, you just sound a little lost and a little self-involved. Therapy is great for that, it'll build your confidence in yourself and your place in the world.

Look, we've all been through it. We've ALL been through it. Life is scary, dreams are dreams, disappointments are disappointments. You're young, not that unique, with problems that only seem crippling to yourself. I say this not to belittle, but to encourage. Go talk to someone, tell them your plan, ask for some guidance in figuring out how you want to get there.
posted by lydhre at 6:02 AM on July 26, 2011


The person I want to be is having everything figured out

See, this doesn't exist, except in very arrogant people who don't have it any more figured out than you do. Even if you get just the right circumstances in place, I promise you that they will not last forever. You must learn to love yourself and feel some semblance of stability or contentment as you are, whether you are confused or confident; living in the right place or the wrong place; with a partner or single. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that when X, Y and Z conditions are met, only then can you be happy. Be happy right now, if only for brief instances. The bonus will be that you will find it much easier to fulfill your goals if they are not fueled by discontent and depression. Nthing therapy, or if you are so inclined, a spiritual practice.
posted by Wordwoman at 7:22 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm only 21 ... I do know I'm running out of time.

No, you are not. Stop taking things so seriously. Live for today, worry about tomorrow when it comes. Does that sound totally irresponsible to you? If so you probably really need to concentrate on living in the moment. Stop worrying about all that was lost, all that could be or won't be or whatever. Let fate take its course; you really have less control than you think.

What is good today? Enjoy it. Smell the rose. Reach out and connect with another human being if you can, even if only just over the net. Why are we here? Is it to obsess over ourselves? Popular culture would have you believe that, but aren't we happier when we do something for someone else? Bring a little good into the world every day. Have a smile about something or someone every day.
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on July 26, 2011


The person I want to be is having everything figured out.

Stop. You will never ever have everything figured out. It's not in the cards. It doesn't work like that. If anything, with age comes the wisdom to not freak out quite so much about all the things you don't have figured out. Because past experience has shown us that things tend to work themselves out in the end and our freaking out about them didn't help one tiny bit.

My biggest regret is I changed my name completely just a few days after I turned 18.
One day you will look back on this and laugh. This isn't something to regret. This is something where you just go and pay the money to change it again. Seriously. First-world problem, as they say.

And nobody stopped me from doing this.
You were 18, and an 'adult.' You are responsible for your own choices, so don't get stroppy at others for not steering your life. If they HAD tried to stop you, I bet you woulda have been hella pissed off at the time. Right?

There is one more big obstacle and that's my teeth. While not pearly white, they are fine except for the bottom being crooked.
If you wanna get them fixed, that's fine. But for the record, blinding Chiclet teeth can be kinda scary, too. What is your fine-but-not-absolutely-perfect teeth an obstacle to? Feeling good about yourself? Please understand that while you might be more pleased with your appearance, your teeth are not an obstacle to anything as you've described them. If they were, poor Thom Yorke wouldn't be where he is today, surely.

To those who say I'm not running out of time, maybe I'm not
You're not. You are so so so so so SO VERY YOUNG.
posted by Windigo at 8:33 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Try volunteering at a homeless shelter, or a domestic abuse clinic. It will open your eyes that
a) life is looooonnnng, and you are just a baby
b) WOW you are self obsessed. There are real problems in the world people face and yours is very very very small. If your child had cancer you would not give one whit about your weight/teeth.

Re-name change: So you did something on your own AS A LEGAL ADULT (meaning no one could have stopped you even if they had wanted to) and you are mad nobody stopped you? Welcome to adulthood, where you are free to make your own decisions and deal with the consequenses. There will be more, bigger and more crushing, mistakes for you to make as you grow up-that is what growing up is.

Also-I'm not saying this to be mean- you are not that diffrent/special/broken than anybody else in this world. Really. And the fact that you think your biggest problems are vanity related means you are still very young and very immature. There is no rule that one must be thin with white teeth to write screen plays-you are setting up that road block yourself
posted by Frosted Cactus at 9:06 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, kid. From the histrionic tone of your original question, it sounded like you actually had a problem. Not one of the things you list rise above the level of "vaguely inconvenient" or "age-appropriate." These are not the sort of thing that should be leading you to think of yourself as "broken" or "going to snap".

I'm pretty different from most people.

Everyone feels this way at your age. Everyone. It's true, but only in the we-are-all-special-snowflakes sense. To be blunt, not a single thing you've said gives any indication that you're the least bit unusual.

The person I want to be is having everything figured out, living in the place I want to live (NYC or a few European cities) and doing that with "the one". That's pretty much the dream.

A daydream, you mean. Don't plan on having everything figured out later, because you never will. Nobody does.

More importantly, don't plan on being the person you want to be 2-4 years from now. That's not how it works. Be the person you want to be right now. None of the things you say you want to do require you to wait. You want to change your name back? Change your name back. You want to move? Move. (But make up your mind where you want to move first; you can't live in NYC and LA and Europe.) You want to lose some weight? Start exercising and eating less. You want to fix your teeth? Go to the damn dentist. You want to write screenplays? Start doing agency submissions, keep writing, find a way to get honest feedback and critique from people with actual knowledge of the business. (And don't count on being able to do it without a day job to support yourself in the meanwhile.)

over the next few weeks I would like to just wake up one day and start doing it

Why do you keep putting things off into the next few years or the next few weeks? What are you doing right now? Stop daydreaming and do it.
posted by ook at 9:35 AM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


To those who say I'm not running out of time, maybe I'm not ... but I saw myself moving and doing these things back when I was 18 or 19. I had set goals and deadlines for myself. I don't know how much longer I can wait around living at home waiting to start a new life.

Setting goals for yourself and wanting to improve your situation is fine, but at a certain level you never really "start a new life." Having a new name doesn't give you a new identity. Losing some belly fat and getting your teeth fixed doesn't make you a new person. And moving to LA and writing screenplays doesn't mean you're living a new life. Because your name, your appearance, where you live, and what you do are just the most superficial aspects of who you are. No matter what you do for the next 10 years, at the end of those years you'll still be you.

You feel broken, because the ideal version of yourself makes all the right decisions, has everything they want, and lives a dream life. Well, dream lives don't exist. Nobody fantasizes about making huge mistakes, or losing their loved ones, or failing to reach major goals. But all of those things will happen to you in your life. Everyone is "broken," and nobody's life goes the way they planned it out when they were 18.

Now on a certain level that can be depressing, since the perfect life you are building in your head will never exist. But a life isn't something you build. It's not a checklist where you fill in the boxes for "Perfect Body", "Perfect Spouse", "Perfect House", "Perfect Job" and sit back feeling satisfied. A life is something you experience. It's every day that you live in this world. You're thinking about the next 2-4 years as if you'll be spending them in a cocoon waiting until you turn into a butterfly and fly away. You should be thinking of it as 2-4 years to actually live, to have experiences and do things for the sake of doing them, to live for today. Life is short but you still have a lot of it ahead of you, so use it to live your life while you're alive, rather than dreaming about being someone else.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:37 AM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus, kid. From the histrionic tone of your original question, it sounded like you actually had a problem.

I have to nth the "jesus, I thought you had some serious problems" response. From your question I assumed you yourself did something really horrible or were blaming yourself for being molested or something awful like that. You're talking about running out of time and being broken because you don't like your name?

You say you don't need therapy, but it seems to me that this level of over-reaction to something so relatively innocuous is pretty strong evidence to the contrary. Really, in the grand scheme of things your problems... aren't. I mean, yeah, okay it must be annoying to not like your name. But your reaction is all out of proportion and I really do think it may be helpful to talk to someone who can help you work through whatever is causing this level of dramafest.
posted by Justinian at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2011


My biggest regret is I changed my name completely just a few days after I turned 18. First, last, and middle. It would be fine, except the name doesn't even fit my background. And nobody stopped me from doing this. So right now, I'm living with a name I won't even have in a few years. I'll either have to revert back to my original name, or pick a new one down the road that fits me and I could live with. How do I explain this to a girl?

First of all, you would explain this to a woman the same way you would explain it to anyone else- you own it. You say "I was really impatient to get things done in my life, and changed my name, and then I changed it to (X) because I felt like (Y), and that's my name changing story". No one is going to care as long as you are genuine and honest. You still have plenty of growing up to do (everyone does, no matter how old they are), and the people that you meet are going to be more interested in your present, not your past. I'm not saying this to minimize the symbology of changing your name- that's a significant thing for you, that you alone are totally responsible for. Other people are not going to feel the same way about your name. I have known several people that have changed their name. Their friends are happy for them and happy to call them the new name because friends are supportive. They don't need to hear the whole backstory because what matters is what the individual in question feels.

Instead of agonizing about running out of time, you need to take concrete steps toward the goals you have now. Are you part of a writing group? Do you communicate with other screenwriters? Are you connecting with people in the cities you want to live? It sounds from your post like you are using your perceived flaws to not do anything about your goals. Start working on those flaws then. Personally, I'm in the perfectly white and even and shiny teeth are kinda unnerving camp, but if that's what you like, then start putting aside money to get them fixed, look into dental insurance, &c.

I know how easy it is to wallow in not-doing; to make all sorts of plans and not act because one thing or another is not quite right. It's often a sign of depression, and that's why people are saying some outside perspective may help jumpstart you into new modes of thinking. I think you should just take one goal and start making concrete steps to get to that place. However, getting there is not going to solve your problems. As everyone said, stuff is not going to magically fall into your lap because you plan it. There is no ''one'' that is going to show up out of he blue. You've got to make all the moves if you want those things.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2011


Do yourself a favor and stop convincing yourself therapy won't help you, IT WILL! (and I usually resent people who say this on metafilter.)

You sound exactly like my best friend in college, who had a manic episode and discovered through therapy that she was bi-polar. She is now, much, much, much happier and less concerned with all these quarter life crisis issues.

There is no reason you should be this stressed out about what are, honest to god, 100% completely normal growing up issues. Go to a doctor.
posted by LZel at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2011


Yes, I really don't want to minimize what you're stressed about, because YOU'RE stressed about it and that's all that matters. But the fact that you're stressed about things that are relatively minor (and, let's remember, you mentioned suicidal thoughts of some stripe in your post) makes me think that you would really benefit from talking things over with a therapist. I hope you do.
posted by sweetkid at 12:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, let me try that again -- I guess I was minimizing what you're stressed about. :) What I mean is that doesn't minimize your *stress* at all -- it doesn't matter what causes it, high stress is high stress and is very bad for you physically, mentally, socially, professionally, and the best way to address it is therapy.

I'd offer the same advice for someone who had a high level of stress based on a divorce, trauma, etc, or someone who had a high level of stress for getting a B+ on a math test. Anyway, again, you would really benefit from talking things over with a therapist. I hope you do.
posted by sweetkid at 12:27 PM on July 26, 2011


THIS: Some of it (most of it, actually) is my own fault and some of it isn't. I can't seem to forgive myself no matter what, at least not yet. And these aren't small things, but things that will shape me for the rest of my life. Some stuff I can't come back from.

Whatever THIS is, it's worth going to therapy for just to see what kind of alternate perspective you can get. Right now it feels like forgiveness is impossible; how do you know for sure if you haven't done to legwork to really find out? Is there only one path to forgiveness or are there others? Are there other possibilities that might work for you? Is it something that can be forgiven or is it better left alone? Is it something that needs to be confessed? Or maybe just a better chance to process with more information? How do you really know if you're trying to figure out THIS + meaning of life + your purpose in the universe on your own???? Believe me, whatever THIS really is, it's already a part of your own meaning of life, so already, it's not like understanding THIS better is going to be without its benefits.

Perhaps I'm not broken, and I am living in a drama like one poster said ... but I have had a really tough time these past few years.

Don't even worry about what anyone else thinks or if they agree. The nice thing about therapy is realizing and believing that it really doesn't matter what someone else thinks or how someone else feels about whatever... If you feel broken it's because somewhere, deep down inside, you ARE broken. You ARE upset... about the name, about the teeth, about WHATEVER KEEPS YOU IN BED IN THE MORNING and prevents you from living the life of signondiego+awesomeness.

Instead you're waking up everyday wondering why signondiego doesn't come with awesomeness, making plans for how to acquire/become the awesomeness, and going back to bed every night knowing damn well that next to nothing you did today really got you much closer to being the AWESOME.

I mean, maybe jogging today helped you get closer to the physical part of awesome, and researching jobs helped you get closer to the career part of awesome. But quite frankly what is the point of pursuing all those plans when deep down, you're also aware that THIS is inside you: I don't think I'm suicidal, at least not yet. I have thought about it, I want to live and be the person I want to be, although if this doesn't happen in the next few years than I might seriously be suicidal. Even though you're not suicidal right now, just the thought reflects the message that what's the point if deep down you're still just signondiego at the end of the day, minus awesomeness...

You can continue to solo THIS, which you were not even comfortable enough to include the details of in your metafilter post... or you can find other people (in the form of online forums, group therapies, or yes, across from you in a therapist's office). I'm in my late 20s and I used all three to help me stay on the living path to human_ecologist+awesomeness (still lots of road ahead, still a journey pretty sweet even though my life is NOTHING like the carefully detailed plan I had ~10 years ago). End point: for you, therapy's still worth a decent shot.

Trivial things your post and I have in common: I quite resentfully want to change my middle name to better reflect my origins, AND I just got braces put on to fix the crooked teeth that my parents always tried to convince me "weren't that bad" (my mouth seriously just does NOT fit together). These are things I've worked YEARS to have the $$ and freedom to afford. If your gut is telling you not to compromise things like this anymore, LISTEN TO IT. No matter small, no matter how trivial, if your body is telling you something isn't quite right then do yourself a huge favour and BELIEVE IT. Good luck!
posted by human ecologist at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2011


The person I want to be is having everything figured out

You are never going to get there. NEVER. You will be 30 or 50 or 80 and this will never ever happen.

So what can you do? Do what you love. Do what makes you happy. Do what you must because you can do no other.

'Figuring it out' isn't the key to being happy. Doing things that fill your heart is the key to being happy.

Also, for what it's worth, I think you're focusing on the relatively minor things you mention here (name, teeth, etc.), because you're terrified to look under the rock of what you refer to as 'minor' issues like family.
posted by MsMolly at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2011


Being stressed out, anxious and generally unhappy really sucks. No matter what the cause, it makes you feel like you've hit your breaking point. The good news is that you can learn not to feel this way. You feel like you don't need therapy because you know where you want to be. It's *great* to know where you want to be! But it doesn't mean you know how to get there. And let me assure you - if you're feeling like this then you aren't doing the things to get you there. All of life is practice for how we want to be. You need to learn how to practice contentment. Lots of people find that therapy helps them start practicing happiness. Other people find that meditating or studying or exercising helps them practice.

Whatever gets you there, you need to start living for NOW instead of the future where everything will magically be perfect. The only constant in anyone's life is the self. There is no destination in life. Just learning how to pick ourselves up and keep going with as much joy and gratitude as we can muster. Don't give up, man. You have it in you to be happy. And you have it in you to be happy NOW. Don't wait around for 2-4 years from now. Get therapy, meditation or exercise. Whatever will help you tame this anxiety beast. It's consuming you from the inside out, and it's doing it so insidiously you're blaming yourself.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2011


Oh man. It is awful feeling this way.

You talk about forgiving yourself and being who you want to be. What's more important - your emotional health, or checking off items on this checklist of Who You Want to Be? I would argue that if you can improve your emotional health, your checklist will disappear, along with all the pressure you're putting on yourself to become a specific someone else in 2-4 years.

...which would be awesome, since you are setting some pretty high expectations for yourself. In 2-4 years you're going to find The One? How can you guarantee that that happens? And it's awesome that you want to go to LA and pursue this career in screenwriting, but what if you go out there and find out that you don't really like writing? Or that you have other interests and ambitions? Or someone gives you some cruel feedback on your writing? What if you can't check that box? Ooh, or what if you get a great screenwriting gig, but you're still unhappy???

The way to work on your emotional health is through therapy. That's all there is. Make the decision to be happy with yourself, and kinder to yourself, and go see someone who can you help you work out how to do that. It seemed in your response like you maybe think therapy is just for people who don't know what they want...not true at all. Therapists aren't life coaches or career counselors. They can help you figure out why you think the way you think, and find a way to stop these negative thoughts that are haunting you. That would have a way huger effect on you than losing a little weight or fixing your teeth, you know?
posted by violetish at 6:25 PM on July 26, 2011


I can't solve all your problems, but I will repeat others' recommendation for exercise and eating right. Exercise isn't just about losing weight. That's incidental. Exercise can significantly improve your mood.
posted by jgfoot at 7:25 PM on July 26, 2011


You sound intensely unhappy with yourself. Not liking yourself is like being chained to a monster that is constantly clawing you and hissing. You can never escape the self-hatred. Moving across the country doesn't work because you take yourself with you wherever you go. It may seem like you just have these specific concrete things and you want to change those things and that's not self-hate, but your entire post is essentially a list of things you want to change and you report feeling intense dismay over not having changed them yet, which adds up to self-hate. I strongly, strongly recommend therapy with the specific goal of developing positive self-talk and a healthier self-image. As long as your relationship with yourself stays this negative and toxic, adjusting a few problematic behaviors will not resolve your negative feelings.
posted by prefpara at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2011


What would your days be like when you achieve all this? What would you spend your time doing? What can you do in your days now, that matches that? Do that and you're already there.
posted by Chrysalis at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I realize I am late to this thread, and maybe the OP isn't watching it anymore. But for what it's worth:

There was this person you probably have heard of. At 18 she left her home and family and entered into a new way of life far away, employed as a private school teacher, until she was 38.

Then she made another major change in her life and became active in social programs.

Eventually her name became known to a large percentage of the people on this planet. She died in 1997. Her name was Mother Teresa.

If you asked her when she was 18, or 21, or 25, or 30 what her life was about, I'm not sure what she would have said.

I mention this ***not*** to imply that your immediate concerns are insignificant. I mention this to imply that the grand sweep of our lives can neither be coaxed into the direction we want it to go by pure determination, nor is it be hopelessly ruined by missing a single opportunity or decision. So I would encourage you to continue to take care of your immediate needs, pay attention to good advice from others and ***grow*** into what you will eventually become.

The above does not argue against therapy or counseling, since they may help in dealing with your immediate needs and gaining good advice. I just thought I'd try to give you a bigger picture, FWIW.
posted by forthright at 7:29 PM on August 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


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